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May We be Forgiven [Hardcover]

A. M. Homes
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 10.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

11 Oct 2012
Harry is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper.They have been uneasy rivals since childhood.Then one day George's loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life. In May We Be Forgiven, Homes gives us a darkly comic look at 21st century domestic life - at individual lives spiraling out of control, bound together by family and history.The cast of characters experience adultery, accidents, divorce, and death. But this is also a savage and dizzyingly inventive vision of contemporary America, whose dark heart Homes penetrates like no other writer - the strange jargons of its language, its passive aggressive institutions, its inhabitants' desperate craving for intimacy and their pushing it away with litigation, technology, paranoia. At the novel's heart are the spaces in between, where the modern family comes together to re-form itself. May We Be Forgiven explores contemporary orphans losing and finding themselves anew; and it speaks above all to the power of personal transformation - simultaneously terrifying and inspiring.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Publications Ltd (11 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847083242
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847083241
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.6 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


AM Homes is a masterful dissector of modern American life. She excels in portraying the minutiae of a dysfunctional family (is there any other kind?), creating characters who are both repellent and magnetic. Her writing exerts a push-pull that feels like being in a hall of mirrors. You want to run away but you find yourself compelled to look at the reflection ... AM Homes can't really be compared to any other writer; no one else is quite as dark and funny and elegant all at the same time. May We Be Forgiven has the narrative intensity of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and the emotional punch of Siri Hustvedt's What I Loved, all told through the eyes of Larry David. It's the best thing I've read this year. --Observer

A wonderful, wild, heartbreaking, hilarious and astonishing novel ... Homes is a very, very funny writer, brilliant at pinpointing the ridiculous nature of 21st-century living ... This is a piercing, perceptive and deeply funny novel about the nature of life, and about finding your family wherever you can, wherever you get comfort and something approaching love. --Independent on Sunday

She is one of the funniest writers laugh-out-loud funny. The internet dating scenes in her new novel include vengeful children making their own use of their mom s SM handcuffs. She has a deadpan understated humour that builds line by line into comic intent. Her humour is often overlooked by reviewers perhaps because women aren t supposed to be funny. --Jeanette Winterson, Guardian

This novel starts at maximum force - and then it really gets going. I can't remember when I last read a novel of such narrative intensity; an unflinching account of a catastrophic, violent, black comic, transformative year in the history of one broken American family. Flat-out amazing. --Salman Rushie

To call May We Be Forgiven "compelling" would be an understatement; it is a novel as compulsive as its characters. --Financial Times

About the Author

A. M. HOMES is the author of the novels, This Book Will Save Your Life, Music for Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers and Jack, two collections of short stories, Things You Should Know and The Safety of Objects and the highly acclaimed memoir, The Mistress's Daughter, as well as the travel memoir, Los Angeles: People, Places and the Castle on the Hill. She is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and writes frequently on arts and culture for numerous magazines and newspapers. She is currently writing for a new major US TV Series. She lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
91 of 98 people found the following review helpful
By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER
An outstanding year for new literary fiction culminates for me in a book of quite astonishing bravery, audacity and hilariously grim satire. Can this really be the state of the middle-class nuclear family in the US today? A. M. Homes seems to be saying that it is. This book is a disturbing read; it is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But it is definitely for anyone who appreciates razor-sharp writing.

Briefly, it is the story of two brothers: Harold, the narrator, and George, just eleven months younger. George is a thoroughly nasty piece of work and now he has lost his mind. A trail of devastating events leaves mild-mannered, college lecturer Harold to pick up the pieces. Will he be able to cope? Will he ever finish his book on Richard Milhous Nixon? And why, you may ask, is he writing a book about a discredited dead ex-President whom none of his students remember? Factor in a couple of disturbed children (excellent characters, these), internet dating with some fairly grubby sex and a legal system that seems unacquainted with the term `justice', and you have an unflinching indictment of middle-class America in the early years of the 21st century. Read it and weep.

But you will also laugh because it is very funny. Even funnier, perhaps, for Jewish readers. Towards the end of the book there is a noticeable mellowing and when the family travels to a tiny village in South Africa to celebrate Harold's nephew Nate's Bar Mitzvah, Homes reveals that she can do tenderness and optimism too.

What makes A. M. Homes such an interesting writer is that she does not fit neatly into any particular pigeon-hole and she knows how to nail her targets with needle-sharp precision. Devastating.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I give up 13 Feb 2014
I've kept with it for the first quarter of this book in the hope it was heading somewhere, but now I don't even care where its heading.
Every single character is entirely unpleasant, acerbic and rude. I'd hate to think what's given the author such a depressing view of people.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not convincing. 28 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The first of A M Homes I have read and I struggled to believe why it has been so well received. The plot was loosely structured and too much happened that was completely implausible, there's only so far you can suspend disbelief. Random pointless events punctuate the narrative and about halfway through you stop caring about any of the characters, with the possible exception of the two bereaved children. Don't know if I'll attempt another
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars did nothing for me 4 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I just found it a little pretentious and boring. And its just so convenient that the main character has so much money that she can take him wherever she wants to, and its never an issue. Utterly unrealistic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious, trivial and unbelievable. 28 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I only finished the book becuase it was a book club read - the start promised great things but rapidly descended into a boring rant of disconnected and increasingly incredible incidents. I cared for none of the characters and couldnt believe in any of them either - it didnt work as picaresque, didnt work as story telling or character building. When we got to the Bar Mitzvah in Africa I almost gave up. What on earth were the judges thinking?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst book I've ever read... really. 24 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wish I could take back the hours wasted on this absurd and far from humorous book... I think this will forever remain in my mind as the worst book I've ever read which is a pretty strong statement coming from someone who just generally loves reading. I had high hopes based on other reviews which left me wondering if I missed something but after further analysis I can only say that I guess this type of absurdity is not my thing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Odd storyline 3 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book started so well and had me gripped from the first few pages. However, it just became stranger and stranger. I persevered until about 30% of the way through and actually gave up. Maybe just not my kind of thing, but I felt like it just deteriorated rapidly from an eventful and well written start to actually not managing to keep my interest at all and finding the main character very unlikeable didn't help. Very disappointing as I don't usual abandon books altogether.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too loose and episodic for me 1 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A.M. Homes has two great strengths - a hghly accessible, liquid prose style and an engaging sense of humour. There are passages in this novel that are hilarious. But it's too long and meandering, and much of it is simply incredible, so much so that at times I wondered if it wasn't actually depicting the first person narrator having a nervous breakdown. About 60 per cent of what happens is realistic, the rest is bizarre or surreal. Most of the characters don't have life and those that do, including the narrator, are pretty dull. Too often the plot just becomes disassociated from reality, in social or economic terms.
Homes seems to have more of an audience in the USA than in the UK, given that this is only the second review. Maybe her satire of contemporary life is more appreciated there - though to me her novels are too wacky to be truly effective as satire.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I hate it
Don't read this.
Published 2 days ago by Indecision
2.0 out of 5 stars far too long - good editor might have helped
this seemed to take forever to read which is never a good sign. I really had to persevere to finish it and it did get marginally better toward the end although that might have... Read more
Published 5 days ago by hextol
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravissima!
When Harry’s sister-in-law plants a hungry kiss on him at Thanksgiving, he’s launched into a chaotic chain of unexpected events. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Bobbie
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and mesmerizing, read this book!
Could not put it down. I did not know what to expect and was so happy I ordered this book. A fantastic read. Read more
Published 18 days ago by L. Arnold
1.0 out of 5 stars couldn't care less
I read 20% of this book in the hope there would be a credible character I could care about. No such luck. Meandering nonsense, and am not wasting any more time.
Published 1 month ago by garrisonhalibut
3.0 out of 5 stars Be Forgiven
It started out well at first and was quite intriguing and funny. It became rather to far fetched towards the end and began to drag. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Claire
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this book.
Published 1 month ago by sunflower
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for switching brain off after a day at work.
this book was light relief and took my mind off 'the day job'. Really quite insightful in places and funny. Quite sure the author is not a country person but fun never the less.
Published 1 month ago by mad old bag
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Have not read it yet
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars not my cup of tea
I can usually read anything and hate not finishing something I have started, but I had to force myself through this and was very close to giving up - plot all over the place and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joanna
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